Opinion Worldview

US Election


Tomorrow is the 2020 US election.

Haven’t been following this election with the same intensity as I did in 2016 because my time has been occupied with other things but have been following the polls closely.

Suffice to say, I was devastated by 2016’s result. It was quite an experience to stay up all through the night and see your worst fears realised. To see hate and cruelty rewarded, it was a really bitter pill to swallow. Moments like those are when our faith in the world is tested the most.

In the years since, Trump has proven to be as odious as people warned. He imposed a racist travel ban on Muslims, he called the far fight “very fine people” after one of them murdered Heather Heyer, he removed protections for trans students, he removed the US from the Paris Agreement, he mocked assault victim Christine Blasey Ford, he separated migrant children from their parents and this year his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has led to many deaths that could have been prevented. It’s actually beyond belief this man even has a chance of winning this election.

Thankfully I don’t see him winning. This is not 2016. This time feels different:

For one, Biden is nowhere near as unpopular as Hillary Clinton. His personal ratings are consistently higher. I think most of the hatred of Clinton was driven by misogyny, I’m not a fan of her politics at all but the sheer scale of the vitriol against her has always seemed disproportionate. But regardless of what was behind it, there was a visceral hatred of her that just doesn’t exist for Biden.

The Coronavirus pandemic did a lot of harm to Trump’s reelection prospects. He got so spooked by the potential economic cost that he downplayed how dangerous the virus was. People were horrified when he floated the idea of using disinfectant injections to kill the virus and many have been furious at his resistance to using and promoting masks, even holding rallies where many of his followers fail to socially distance or use a mask. Trump always lies but people are less forgiving over the lies of something of this seriousness because it has a direct impact on the lives of so many ordinary people.

There were probably some voters last time who had felt betrayed by the establishment and were hurting who thought that they’d give someone outside of the Washington establishment a chance. That can’t be excused because these voters were willing to overlook his racism and misogyny, but I understand the feeling of betrayal from politicians. The solution is not to then place your trust in someone who is even more unscrupulous than they are. Hopefully voters have learnt that valuable lesson this time around.

And finally, there is no James Comey this time.

Biden is in a very, very strong position with solid leads in most of the polls from the swing states. People caution that Clinton too had a lead, but not to this extent. The polling would have to be off to an enormous degree and that only happens once in a blue moon. Thankfully by the time the election has happened, the blue moon will have come and gone.

So much hinges on Florida and Pennsylvania. If Biden wins one it is almost a sure bet he will win the election. For Trump, it’s likely he’ll have to take both.

In fact, looking at the polling the chance of a Biden blowout is probably greater than a Trump victory. It’s possible Biden can outperform his polls, take Florida and North Carolina and it could be over a lot earlier in the night than most people will expect. I don’t want to stay up too late so I really hope that will be the case.

The state of most interest to me will be Texas. Texas will turn blue eventually although it’s unlikely this year. The fact Texas is even in play is extraordinary and it will be fascinating to see the final result and how close the Democrats can get to flipping it.

Obviously, it’s very dissapointing that conservative Amy Coney Barret has been confirmed to the US Supreme Court. But right now the Democrats need to take care of what they’re in control of. Holding two branches of government – the legislative and the executive would go some way in repairing the damage Trump has done to the country. And it’s very much within reach.

Joe Biden’s decision to pick Kamala Harris will go down as an historic one. Harris’s politics like Biden leave a lot to be desired and her record as a prosecutor is regressive and deplorable, and many lives have been worsened because of her actions. But if Biden wins she will be the first black woman and first Asian American to be vice president. There’s a lot of people who that will mean an awful lot to, in the same way Obama’s victory did.

For a blissful while, it looked like Bernie Sanders would be the nominee for the Democratic Party after he won the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucus. One of my friends did a bit of campaigning for the Sanders campaign in Des Moines, Iowa and had the time of his life. We all wanted to believe it was going to happen.

He and all Bernie supporters have been demoralised since, which stands to reason since their hopes were crushed. But we should take heart that Bernie was the closest a socialist has ever come to winning the nomination. Sometimes the political terrain just doesn’t allow for the right person to win. Bernie has brought so many people into politics and planted seeds for the left to succeed in the future. We will always remember the hope he brought back to so many people.

Real change will always come from the bottom up. When Biden wins there will be a temptation from a lot of ordinary people to go back to how things were. But this must be resisted. It’s the left’s job to ensure this doesn’t happen and to put pressure on the Biden administration to move the country further left and to hold them to account when they inevitably fuck up on something. The democrats would be wise to remember the opening for Trump came partly due to their own failings, if the party doesn’t start representing the working class, the risk lingers that a figure more reprehensible and competent than Trump may emerge.

The Republicans sold their souls for a Trump presidency. They will pay the price for that in the coming years. They should never be allowed to forget that they enabled one of the most repulsive, destructive political figures of our time, all for a few tax cuts for their wealthy friends.

Tomorrow, we hope the American people deliver a crushing blow to both Trump and the Republican Party. It’s exactly what they deserve.